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Dealwatch: Freshfields and Mayer Brown win roles on Blackstone’s Centre Parcs sale

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Mayer Brown have won key spots on Blackstone’s sale of a majority stake in Centre Parcs UK to Brookfield Property Partners after the holiday-village operator had looked at carrying out an initial public offering (IPO).

The deal, which is reportedly worth around £2.4bn, saw Freshfields act for the leisure company’s owners Blackstone with a team led by corporate partner David Higgins and including Alex Watt on real estate, tax specialist Jill Gatehouse, pensions and employment partner Nick Squire and competition partner Winfred Knibbeler.

The Magic Circle firm also advised on financing with US securities partner Simone Bono and structured finance specialist Marcus Mackenzie leading. The duo previously advised RBS on a whole business securitisation for Centre Parcs which refinanced the company’s existing debt and raised funding for its Woburn village. Centre Parcs currently operates five destinations around the UK and is separate from the European brand.

Mayer Brown took the role advising the buyers, Canadian funds manager Brookfield, with a team led by corporate and securities partner Jeremy Kenley and including corporate duo Tim Nosworthy and Kate Ball-Dodd, tax partner Sandy Bhogal, real estate partners Jeremy Clay and Andrew Hepner, and environment and planning partner Michael Hutchinson.

The sale saw management retain a stake in the business with Travers Smith advising led by senior partner Chris Hale with support from Travers’ head of tax Kathleen Russ while, on the company’s aborted IPO process, corporate finance partner Adrian West took the lead.